The Daily Southerner, Tarboro, NC

December 21, 2011

Christmas Eve is almost here

Karen Freeman

TARBORO — t’s hard to believe that Saturday is Christmas Eve! Wow. This year has flown by. When your little ones are restless on Saturday and excited about Santa coming, here are some things to do. Bake cookies to leave with the traditional glass of milk for Santa.

If you don’t normally do that, give it a try. You can start a tradition that your kids will then pass down to their kids and so on. Besides, it gives them something to do and the parents get to eat the results! This is a win-win situation.

Our first recipe is my favorite. It’s cinnamon rolls. Yummo, as Rachel Ray would say. But, these use frozen bread dough, so you are even making the dough for them. Otherwise, you will have most of the ingredients. You can also use these as part of Christmas breakfast.

Our second recipe is a brown sugar cookie. This is a little heavier than regular sugar cookies but I think you will like them.

The next cookie is a cream cheese sugar cookie. Do you see a theme here? Sugar! But, I love cream cheese so I threw this one in.

The two cookie recipes call for rolling and cutting the cookies. If you have cookies cutters, especially Christmas ones, that’s great. If you don’t pinch off or scoop out about a ping pong ball sized ball and flatten it with a fork on the greased cookie pan.

As much fun as Christmas is, don’t forget that Christmas is about more than trees, decorations, food and presents. It’s about Christ. So, once you bake the cookies; settle the kids down around the tree, let them have a sample, read the night before Christmas and then read them the true Christmas story from Luke 1:1-18.  I hope that you and your family have a very blessed and merry Christmas.

Creamy Cinnamon Rolls


2 (1 Pound) Loaves Frozen Bread Dough, thawed

2/3 CUP Sweetened Condensed Milk (NOT evaporated milk), divided

1 Cup Chopped Pecans

2 Teaspoons Ground Cinnamon

1 Cup Confectioners' Sugar

1/2 Teaspoon Vanilla Extract

Chopped Pecans (optional)


On a lightly floured surface roll each of the bread dough loaves to a 12x9-inch rectangle. Spread 1/3 cup of the sweetened condensed milk over dough rectangles. Sprinkle with 1 cup pecans and cinnamon. Roll up jelly-roll style starting from a short side cut. Cut each into 6 slices.

Generously grease 13x9-inch baking pan. Place rolls, cut sides down, in pan. Cover loosely with greased wax paper and then with plastic wrap. Chill overnight. Cover and chill remaining 1/3-cup milk.

To bake let pan of rolls stand at room temperature for 30 minutes. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Bake 30 to 35 minutes or until golden brown. Cool in pan 5 minutes; loosen edges and remove rolls from pan.

For frosting, in small bowl, combine confectioners' sugar, remaining 1/3 cup milk and vanilla. Drizzle frosting on warm rolls. Sprinkle with additional chopped pecans (optional).

Brown Sugar Cookies

2 Cups Sifted Flour, less if possible

1 1/2 Teaspoons Baking Powder

1/2 Teaspoon Salt

1/2 Cup Butter

1/2 Cup Brown Sugar, Packed

1 Egg

1 Tablespoon 15% Cream (any kind of cream from 10% to 35% will work fine)

1 1/2 Teaspoons Vanilla

Granulated Sugar, for decorating

Blend 1 cup flour, baking powder, and salt. Beat together butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in egg, vanilla, and cream. Stir the flour mixture into the butter mixture, then add enough of the remaining 1 cup flour to make the dough stiff enough to roll.

Wrap in plastic wrap and chill several hours. Preheat oven to 375 F. Place on a lightly floured cutting board and roll to 1/8" thickness. Use floured cookie cutters to cut into shapes.

Place on an ungreased baking sheet, sprinkle with granulated sugar. Bake 8 minutes.

Cream Cheese Sugar Cookies

Makes about 60

1 cup granulated sugar

1 cup softened butter

3 ounces cream cheese, softened

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon almond extract

1/2 teaspoon vanilla

1 egg yolk (reserve white)

2-1/4 cup all-purpose flour

In large bowl combine sugars, butter, cream cheese, salt, extracts and egg yolk; blend well. Stir in flour until well blended. Chill dough for 2 hours. Pre-heat oven to 375 F. On a lightly floured surface, roll out dough, one-third at a time to 1/8-inch thickness. Cut into desired shaped with lightly floured cookie cutter. Place 1 inch apart on ungreased cookie sheet.

Leave cookie plain, or brush with lightly beaten egg white and sprinkle with colored sugar. Bake for 7-10 minutes or until light golden brown. Cool completely on wire racks.